Wakefield house fire ruled arson

Published 11:01 am Thursday, August 23, 2012

WAKEFIELD—A Tuesday fire that destroyed a vacant $100,000 home outside Wakefield is believed to have been arson, said Eddie Vick, the fire investigator for Sussex County.

It’s also believed juveniles set the blaze that took 20 firefighters from three departments to extinguish, Vick said.

“We have some eyewitnesses who saw juveniles in the area and they recognized them,” he said.

Wakefield, Ivor and Waverly volunteer fire departments between 2 and 3 p.m. responded to the Faison Road fire about a half-mile outside Wakefield. When they arrived, the fire was fully involved in the rear portion of the home and had gone through the roof, said Wakefield Fire Chief Pat Bowden.

It took firefighters about 20 minutes to extinguish the blaze. No one was hurt.

After ruling out possible accidental causes because there was no electricity to the home and there had not been any lightning in the area, investigators determined it was arson.

As of Thursday, they had not determined how it was set.

“We’re still working on that part,” Vick said. “We have some statements that were made so it’s still under investigation and they do have suspects. They are juveniles.”

“Kids had been seen up around that residence several times,” Bowden added.

Homeowner Virginia Ann Shackleford lives in Gloucester and did not have the home insured. She lost some furniture stored in the home, which is believed to have been vacant for a couple years.